A husband recently told me he was worried because his wife was not talking to him. I did not have the opportunity to discuss this with him, but afterwards, I did some thinking. Of course, there can be many reasons for a partner to shut down or withdraw. Sometimes, though, one stops talking because he or she feels the other is not listening, so why bother?
We are not really listening if:
1) we are thinking about what we are going to say while the other is talking,
2) we are interrupting the speaker,
3) we become defensive if negative feelings are being vented towards us,
4) we are not listening for themeaningbehind the person’s words expressed through gestures or
5) we pretend to be listening when we are not,
6) we are judging or criticizing while the other is talking,
7) we begin giving advice before we are asked, or
8) we assume we know what the person is going to say, so we stop listening.
We have probably all been guilty of some of these, and tend to engage in more of them if a discussion is emotionally charged. One of the most powerful ways to improve any relationship is to fine-tune our listening skills. If someone is not talking to you, see what happens if you eliminate and/or change some of the above behaviors.
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Related MP3s Available:
Communication in Relationships
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
Trust and Fidelity